Detroit Tigers Notes And Quotes 7-29-11
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–SS Jhonny Peralta collected two more hits on the one-year anniversary of the deal that brought him to Detroit from Cleveland to fill a hole created by 3B Brandon Inge’s broken hand. Peralta is now hitting .294 in his full season with the Tigers with 24 home runs and 99 RBI in 555 at-bats. Peralta felt so comfortable when he was told Detroit planned to move him back to shortstop from third base this season that he re-signed with the Tigers (two years plus an option) even after the team declined an option for $7 million.
–RHP Brad Penny was removed after getting just one out in the fourth inning after allowing nine hits and a walk. He also had a very public squabble on the field with C Victor Martinez in his last inning. Pitching coach Jeff Jones had to make a quick trip to the mound to calm things down. Penny said the issue was regarding signs with a runner on second base. Martinez declined comment.
–C Victor Martinez got a start behind the plate as manager Jim Leyland gave C Alex Avila a full day off. Martinez doesn’t throw runners out well, and some of Detroit’s pitchers don’t hold runners on, a lethal combination against a team that likes to run as well as the Angels do. Los Angeles stole twice on the Tigers but had decent leads for a good part of the game. Martinez engaged in a heated discussion with RHP Brad Penny during the fourth inning, but both players shrugged it off as something that wasn’t an issue.
–LHP David Purcey has not enhanced his position with Detroit in his last three outings, two of which resulted in him walking five of six batters. Purcey was brought on in the seventh inning Thursday with Detroit trailing 7-6, and he gave up a single plus two walks and was relieved with a 2-0 count on the last batter he pitched to. All three runners scored, and his ERA in the past eight outings is 14.14. Purcey threw 16 pitches, and 12 were out of the strike zone. His overall ERA is now 5.61. He’s out of options, which is why he’s bounced from Toronto to Oakland to Detroit this season.
–C Alex Avila got a complete game off after taking a beating behind the plate recently, getting hit in the mask by foul balls on numerous occasions. “He’s caught a lot of games and probably gets hit more than any catcher I’ve seen with foul balls,” manager Jim Leyland said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. He’s getting a little blow.”
Avila said, “There’s not much you can do. It’s part of the game, part of the job. For some reason or another, I just happen to get hit more throughout the season.”
Leyland on occasion has used Avila as his DH when he’s put DH/C Victor Martinez behind the plate, but this time he gave his regular a complete game off.
“There’s a mental barrier that you have to get over — a fear of a baseball,” Avila said. “You’re sitting and they throw a ball at you and it hits you, your reaction is to get out of the way. Mine isn’t. I’m supposed to be in front of it. When I first moved, there’s a mental block that you have to get over, but it’s just more something that you have to get over. If you don’t get over it, then you’re not going to be any good. Find another job.”
–RHP Chance Ruffin bounced back nicely from a rough major league debut (two-run double, pair of solo home runs). Ruffin picked up for LHP Charlie Furbush to start the fifth inning. He worked two scoreless innings, allowing two hits but striking out two and facing eight batters. Ruffin drew praise from manager Jim Leyland and his catcher, Alex Avila, after his first appearance.
–3B Wilson Betemit didn’t start but pinch-hit in his first game at Comerica Park as a Tiger. Betemit wound up hitting a solo home run in the 12-7 loss to the Angels. He is now hitting .304 in seven games with the Tigers since coming over from the Royals.
–RHP Al Alburquerque was not in uniform for a second straight game due to a sore right elbow. Trainer Kevin Rand said Alburquerque was day-to-day and added he did not suspect the 25-year-old would need to go on the disabled list. “He’s better than he was (Wednesday), so hopefully he’ll be better (Friday),” Rand said. Alburquerque was on the disabled list from July 1 until after the All-Star break with what was described as a right forearm issue.
“The flexor tendinitis that we previously diagnosed him with is fine — he has no issues there,” Rand said. “He just has some mild inflammation in and around the joint that we just have to work though.”
BY THE NUMBERS
12 — Balls out of the strike zone thrown by LHP David Purcey in a relief appearance. He threw 16 pitches in all before he was replaced.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“Austin Jackson has a bruise on his hand the size of a baseball. My players would think I lost my mind if I didn’t go out there on something like that. and it appeared to me that it was a missed call.” — Manager Jim Leyland, on why he went out to argue with plate umpire Brian Knight, who ruled Jackson fouled the ball off rather than getting hit by a pitch. Leyland was soon ejected for the fourth time in the last five weeks.
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